”They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion” (Psalm 84:7).
At the beginning of the year, I asked a young adult what she wanted for the year ahead. Her first response was, “To finish well.” I was impressed with her answer. She wasn’t asking for something or expecting someone to do something for her. Youth can be blindly optimistic and I pray her good intention carries throughout the year.
In reading portions of the Old Testament, I have been dismayed at Israel’s kings who started out well and “did what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord.” Then at the peak of their careers or near the end of their lives, they threw it all to the winds and went after other gods. For example, you can read how Solomon had great success, built the temple, and then later abandoned God (1 Kings 11:33 ff.) How did that happen? Was it over confidence in his own power? Did he just get “weary of doing good”? Was his earlier life just a sham?
As I get older, it is tempting to think, “Well, I’ve done my part, time to let someone else do it.” This kind of thinking is not about training up a younger generation to take over the reins; rather, it is an attitude that says, “I’ll just coast on into heaven.” The story of Solomon is a sobering reminder that we need to be vigilant in our relationship with God. There will never be a time when we can take His Love for granted.
I like Pippa Gumbel’s comments about Psalm 84:7. She writes “This is an encouragement to finish well in life, to keep going and to believe the later years can be more fruitful than the former years.”*
Lord, no matter where we are in our journey with you, help us to finish well!
*Bible in One Year – Day 193